Utah Birds Records Committee
– Report for 2019
Kenny Frisch, Stephanie Greenwood,
Mike Hearell, Dennis Shirley, Bryan Shirley, Steve Sommerfeld,
Mark Stackhouse, Larry Tripp, David Wheeler, Non-voting Members:
Eric Huish (Archivist), Cody Neuman (eBird Liaison)
This annual report of the Committee
summarizes 47 records of 36 species submitted in 2019. The Committee
accepted 38 of these records (80.9%). The primary reason for records being
rejected by the Committee during the period covered by this report was
insufficient descriptive details to eliminate similar species. Other
lack of supporting physical evidence [photographs, audio recordings,
multiple observers] and a higher level of scrutiny for a first state record.
The following committee
members participated in the review of the records included in this report:
Rick Fridell, Mike Schijf. The report was
compiled by Milt Moody. Comments on species and context of the records as
well as proof reading and editing was
provided by Mike Schijf.
This report adds one species to the checklist of the birds of Utah.
A first state record for a Great Black-backed
Gull, which was found by Brian Maxfield at Stateline Cove in
Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Daggett County. With excellent documentation
including photos by Brian Maxfield and Bryant Olsen the sighting was easily accepted by the Committee, bringing the total
number of species for the Utah
bird list to 465.
All species evaluated by the Committee are listed by common and scientific name using the nomenclature and
taxonomic order of the American Ornithological Society Checklist of North American Birds,
60th supplement, followed by the number of
the records accepted for this species in the last
ten years followed by the total number of official sightings for Utah (in
The following information is included with each record in the species section: record number, the number of birds observed along with age and sex if known, sighting location, occurrence date,
observers with the initial finder listed first, observer(s) who submitted written documentation of the record,
observer(s) who submitted photographs or videos, and the final-round vote of the committee
with the first number being the “accept” votes and the second number being the
“not-accept” votes. A review summary (in parenthesis) will follow
the final round vote for those records that were not unanimously accepted in the
Any comments about the species records as a whole will be in a final italicized
paragraph at the end of the species section and comments about individual
records will be in italics after that record.
The Utah Bird Records Committee would like to thank those individuals who submitted documentation of their
sightings. The Committee encourages all observers to document and submit a report of unusual sightings. Multiple
documentation of sightings is more valuable than a single report, since one observer may notice key field marks not
reported by other observers; those field marks may contribute significantly to the value of the record. The
submission of photographs and recordings of songs or calls, along with the written documentation is strongly
encouraged by the Committee.
by Matthew Pendleton
2019-36 6 Oct 2019 - Jackson Flat Reservoir, Kane Co., by G.Merrill Webb
(Hatch year, Photos) 2nd round: 9-0
-- (The question of this bird being an escapee was brought up but dismissed with
This is only the second UBRC accepted record of this species
Mexican Duck (Anas platyrhynchos ssp.) recently
added to Review List as a subspecies
13 Sep 2018 - Big Cottonwood Park, Salt Lake County, by
Kenny Frisch (adult male, Photos) 2nd round: 6-1
-- (Since there were no signs of hybridization, which
would be very common, the committee accepted this as a pure Mexican Duck
which at present is a subspecies of Mallard according to the AOS, but may
in the future be considered its own species).
Black Scoter (Melanitta
25 Oct 2019 - Huntington Lake Reservoir, Emery County, by
Merrill Webb (four adult males) 2nd round: 6-3 -- (With
some problems with the written description there was some reluctance to accept
this sighting, but because the sighting is consistent with past occurrences of
this species and the observer is very experienced and a known quantity, the
record was accepted).
2 Nov 2019 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen
(Fem/imm, Photos) : 1st round: 9-0
3 Nov 2019 - East Canyon Reservoir, Morgan Co., by Weston Smith
(Female, Photos) : 1st round: 9-0
2019 seemed to be an excellent year for black scoters in Utah,
with reports from multiple locations in October and November.
(0 / 1)
9 Sep 2019 - West Abajo Mountains, San Juan County, by
Kathleen & Hal Robins (one)
2nd round: 1-8 -- (The paucity of field marks described,
left a question about the ID of this bird and resulted in mixed opinions).
With only one previous UBRC accepted record (from 1991),
excellent documentation would be needed to accept additional records of this
exceptionally rare species for Utah.
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica )
27 May 2019 - Bridge over the Green River, Jensen, Uintah County, by
Nathan Pieplow (adult, Photos)
2nd round: 7-0 -- (The photos and documentation show the field marks
clearly enough to eliminate Vaux's Swift and confirm the ID).
The only other UBRC accepted record of this species is a
University of Utah specimen collected in 1912.
2019-25: Wandering Tattler
by Bryant Olsen
2019-01: Great Black-backed Gull
by Brian Maxfield
2019-24: Brown Pelican
by Laura Lockhart
by Mike Schijf
28 Aug 2019 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen (one,
Photos) 1st round: 8-0
Three of the five UBRC accepted records of this species have
come from Antelope Island State Park.
Red Phalarope (Phalaropus
5 Oct 2019 - Lee Creek delta, Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake Co., by
(winter adult, Photos)
1st round: 9-0
(Stercorarius pomarinus) (2
15 May 2011 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis County, by
David Wheeler (one adult) 1st round: 9-0
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus
11 Jan 2019 - Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Daggett Co., by Brian Maxfield (adult,
Photos) 1st round: 9-0
First State Record
Although a first state record for Utah, this
species was previously photographed on the Wyoming side of Flaming Gorge
Reservoir in both 2017 and 2018.
Least Tern (Sternula
27 May 2019 - Inland Sea Shorebird Preverve, Salt Lake County, by
Ian Batterman (adult)
2nd round: 2-7 -- (The description of the bird left some room for
the possibility of another species).
Red-throated Loon (Gavia
stellata) (10 /
8 Feb 2019 - Quail Creek State Park, Washington County, by Mike Schijf (adult,
Photos) 1st round: 8-0
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus
22 Nov 2016 - Grand County, by Steve Heinrich (one
adult) 2nd round: 7-2 -- (Though the sighting was two year old
and there was no photo, the description didn't leave any other
23 Aug 2019 - Bear River Refuge Road, Box Elder Co., by
Laura Lockhart (juv. to early adult,
Photos) 1st round: 7-0
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) (3
3 May 2019 - Lytle Ranch, Washington County, by James
Reid (adult, Photos) 1st
This is the first UBRC accepted record of this species for
8 Oct 2019 - Red's Lake, San Juan Co., by
(juvenile, Photos) 1st round: 9-0
Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus)
(0 / 0)
14 Jun 2019 - I-15 south of Spanish Fork, ? County, by
Tom Davidowicz (one, flying) 1st round: 0-8 --
(Without a description of the tail, the documentation didn't eliminate other
possible species, especially the quite common, Swainson's Hawk).
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo
2019-11 2 May 2019 - Forest
Park, St. George, Washington County, by Holden Green (one adult)
2nd round: 7-0
21 Apr 2019 - Hurricane, Washington County, by
Steve Clark & Danielle Jarvis (adult,
Photos) 1st round: 9-0
21 Apr 2019 - Confluence Park, La Verkin, Washington County, by Jason Pietrzak (adult) 1st round: 9-0
16 Aug 2019 - Pine Park, Washington County, by
Mike Schijf (2 adults, Photos) 1st round: 8-0
Pine Park is a known location for zone-tailed hawks in
Boreal Owl (Aegolius
4 Oct 2019 - Soapstone Basin, Wasatch County, by
Kenny Frisch (three,
audio ) : 1st round: 8-0
This report of three individuals represents the highest count
total documented in Utah.
25 Dec 2003 - Deer Valley Ski Resort, Summit County, by
Joyce Tang (one, Photos)
1st round: 7-0
7 Nov 2019 - La Verkin, Washington County, by
Austin J. Adams (adult male) 2nd round: 2-7 --
(With no photo or use of optics, the committee was hesitant to accept such
an exceptional vagrant sighting as a first state record).
Excellent documentation would be needed to accept a first
state record for a species 150 miles from the closest part of its range,
especially since this species is not known to exhibit patterns of
26 Dec 2019 - Lytle Ranch, Washington Co., by Terry Reid
(HY male, Photos) 2nd
round: 9-0 -- (Some question about being a possible hybrid,
sent this record to a second round where it was accepted unanimously).
by Greg Sharp
by Terry Reid
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus
14 Oct 2019 - Hela Seegmiller Farm, Washington Co., by
(Hatch year, Photos) 1st round:
All four state records of this species have come since
2012. This was the first record of this species from southern Utah.
10 Sep 2019 - North Arm Natural Area, Eden, Weber County, by Mike Hearell
(one) 1st round: 8-0
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia
14 Dec 2019 - North of Grafton, Washington Co., by Mike Schijf
(male, Photos) 1st round:
Although only one individual was initially reported,
subsequent reports of up to four individuals were well documented during
the following weeks.
Veery (Catharus fuscescens)
11 Sep 2019 - Holladay, Salt Lake Co., by Kenny Frisch
(one, Photos) 1st round: 8-0
Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)
2 Jun 2019 - Grand Staircase Inn, Cannonville, Garfield County, by Kenny Frisch (one,
2nd round: 2-7 -- (Basing an ID solely on an audio and
spectrogram of a call note, was sufficient to eliminate the possibility of
mimicry from another species).
9 Nov 2014 - Grand County, by Steve Heinrich (two
2nd round: 8-1 -- (Though there were some concerns about a
sighting without a photo that was several years old, the description from
an experienced observer of a unique bird was convincing).
(0 / 9)
6 May 2019 - West of Browse Exit of I-5, Washington County, by Sam Wells (one)
2nd round: 2-7 -- (The description did not quite eliminate the
possibility of another species).
31 Mar 2019 - Alta, Salt Lake County, by Ian Batterman (adult)
2nd round: 0-9-- (The
possibility of a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch was not eliminated as a
possibility in this very difficult ID).
by Taylor Abbott
McCown's Longspur (Rhynchophanes
1 Dec 2019 - Enterprise, Washington & Iron Co., by Mike Schjf
(three, Photos) 1st round: 9 acc
This is only the third UBRC accepted record for southern
Utah, and the first since 1985.
28 Nov 2019 - West of Reese, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell
(male, Photos by Taylor Abbott)
: 1st round: 9-0
8 Feb 2019 - Mosida, SR 68, Utah Co., by Suzi Holt (one,
Photos) 1st round: 9-0
Nelson's Sparrow (Ammodramus
1 Sep 2019 - Bear River MBR, Box Elder County, by Ian Batterman (one adult)
2nd round: 0-9 -- (With a 15 second observation, to ID a very rare bird,
the absence of some important field marks from the description -- like the
color of the breast and a short tail -- made it difficult to eliminate the
possibility of another species.
Baird's Sparrow (Centronyx bairdii) (0
8 Jun 2019 - University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, by
Kenny Frisch (one)
2nd round: 3-6 -- (For a bird this rare, a recording of the call
note, even with a pretty convincing analysis, was not quite enough to
convince the committee to accept this record).
(2 / 7)
25 Sep 2017 - Arches Nat. Park, Grand County, by
Kevin O'Connor (one male) 2nd
round: 9-0 -- (With no photo and a somewhat sparse description, this
record was sent to a second round for discussion and was accepted unanimously).
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria
20 Jun 2019 - Big Cottonwood Park, Millcreek, Salt Lake County, by Rachel
LeBlanc (adult male) 1st round: 8-0
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis
20 Sep 2019 - Utah Lake Parkway Trail, Saratoga Springs, Utah County, by
Rachel LaBlanc (immature)
2nd round: 9-0 -- (After some questions about the description in the
first round, this record was accepted unanimously in the 2nd).
9 Nov 2018 - Royal Oaks Park, Washington County, by Mike Schijf (adult,
Photos) 1st round: 9-0
This was the second individual of this species to be documented
at this location in the fall of 2018.
Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga
by Cameron Cox
24 Sep 2019 - Tonaquint Nature Ctr., St. George, Washington Co., by
(HY female?, Photos) 1st
31 Aug 2019 - Fielding Garr Ranch, Davis Co., by Max Malmquist
(HY, Photos) 1st round: 8-0
Palm Warbler (Setophaga
12 Oct 2018 - Springdale, Washington County, by
Jason Pietrzak (one) 2nd round: 8-0
Painted Bunting (Passerina
11 May 2019,- Near Camp Floyd Inn, Utah County, by Ian Batterman (female)
2nd round: 6-3 -- (Though there was some lingering doubt about
this record, most thought that other possibilities were eliminated by the
* The heading photo is of a Fulvous Whistling-Duck, by Matthew